Theravive Home

The Latest in Therapy News

September 27, 2013
by Casey Truffo, LMFT

Why Nagging Won't Get You What You Want

September 27, 2013 05:00 by Casey Truffo, LMFT

No relationship is perfect. At one time or another, one partner seems to end up doing something that upsets or annoys the other. It's just the way relationships work sometimes.  Most times, the reaction is to nag the other about their behavior or the problem at hand. Nagging is never an effective way to communicate your needs and will almost always produce negative results.  Nagging can be harmful to a relationship and cause problems instead of solutions. There are many reasons why nagging won't get you what you want in any relationship. 

  1. Resentment - Nagging will almost always generate an angry response from your partner, making them resent you.  Whatever it is you're nagging about is the last thing your partner wants to do.  It is unpleasant to hear; therefore, you will be tuned out, especially if you nag about the same issues over and over again. Your partner will simply stop hearing you, and the more you nag, the less they will respond to your needs.
  2. Negativity - Nagging is a form of punishment.  You are basically indicating, "When you do what I want you to do, I'll stop punishing you by being an annoying nag!"  Being nagged makes your partner feel like they are being manipulated by a control freak.  If you are the one nagging, you probably feel like you are standing up for what you need without intending to stop until you get the desired result you are seeking.
  3. Implications - Nagging focuses on what is not being done; therefore, you are implying what your partner is doing is wrong.  Most times, your partner will feel that he or she is not worthy because they are not living up to your demands or expectations. When you nag, you find fault in your partner, and it tends to wear down your relationship instead of building up your relationship.
  4. Criticism and Hostility - Nagging is a form of criticism and creates hostility in a relationship. Continuous nagging is harmful because it is a constant and ongoing attack.  When you attack your partner, you are asking for defensiveness instead of cooperation.  It is difficult, if not impossible, to feel love and acceptance in this type of environment.
  5. Dominance - The person being nagged will immediately feel like you are saying they are unimportant and beneath you. When you nag your partner, you are treating them like you are dominant and what you say needs to happen at all costs.  This is an unhealthy approach to forming a long-lasting and meaningful relationship. Remember, a relationship is a partnership, not a dictatorship. 

Nagging is usually the result of feeling frustrated or angry, and is done because one partner can't understand why the other partner doesn't just do whatever it he or she is asking to be done.  It's also possible that you turn to nagging because you think it will change your partner and make their life better or easier.

There are ways to erase the damage of nagging; however, if you know you're nagging, the sooner you stop, the better chance your relationship will have to grow.  There are more effective ways to communicate what we want or need. 

  1. Stop Nagging - Just stop nagging.  Your partner knows your issues and what you would like to see happen or changed.  Your partner just might make those things happen once you stop nagging all together.
  2. Determine Worth - Decide if whatever you're nagging about is really important.  Is it worth causing pain to your partner or damage to your relationship?  Think of nagging like taking a cheap shot at your partner while they're not looking.  Would you willingly do that?  Probably not. 
  3. Analyze Yourself - You can't change someone else; you can only change yourself.  Consider changing your behavior.  It will take some time for your partner to be open to change, especially if you've been nagging non-stop for a long period of time.  You can tell your partner you are through nagging because you realize it causes pain and you want to eliminate painful feelings from your relationship.
  4. Offer Support - Ask your partner what you can do to help or what you can do so that they have time to do what you're asking to be done.  If you partner tells you what you can do to help, do it.  Even if your partner doesn't follow through, do what you said you will do so they can see that you will offer support.
  5. Compromise - Relationships function on give and take.  In order to grow, both partners need to give to create the final result or need to take to create the final result.  This may mean offering to help your partner (giving) or asking your partner for help (taking) in order to accomplish the task.  Most likely, once you show that you are willing to help, your partner will eventually follow your lead. 

By eliminating nagging, you are eliminating negativity, resentment, criticism, hostility, and dominance.  Read that sentence again.  Do you really want to be involved in a relationship full of those attributes?  Probably not.  Over time, once nagging is completely out of the picture, your relationship will blossom and grow, and be best described as a partnership of equal responsibility and acceptance.  This is essential for any healthy relationship.  It is within your control to turn this situation around to be able to live a happy, healthy life with your partner.

If you are feeling nagged and criticized, why not get an unbiased third party to help you get along getter. Please give us a call at the OC Relationship Center today at 949-220-3211, or book your appointment online via our online calendar.

About the Author

OC Relationship Center OC Relationship Center, LMFT

You deserve to feel better - in your life and relationships. At OC Relationship Center we want to help you find more love, more joy, more peace...and less conflict and less stress. Our licensed and caring counselors can help if you are single, dating, married, divorced.

OC Relationship Center can be found at
blog comments powered by Disqus